Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Blake Breaks Out Big Stick; Escobar Beaches Marlins
Players of the Day from Monday, June 2, 2008 American League Casey Blake had the game of his life in just three innings. Blake hit two-run homers in the 2nd and 3rd innings, then stroked a bases-loaded double in the 4th, driving in a total of 7 runs as Cleveland outlasted the Rangers in a 13-9 slugfest on Monday. Blake a .236 hitter, isn't known for outstanding power, but he came up at the right times for the Tribe, still desperately chasing the White Sox and Twins in the AL Central. The Sox are 4 1/2 ahead of Cleveland, with the Twins just 1/2-game off the lead. Notes: While the Indians won the game at Arlington, Texas, they couldn't stop three of the hottest hitters in the league. Second baseman Ian Kinsler extended his hitting streak to 17 games. His double-play partner, shortstop Michael Young, has an 18-game streak going. Josh Hamilton, looking like a lock for AL MVP, hit his 16th home run, drove in a pair of runs to give him 65 and went 2-for-4 to raise his batting average to .331. Hamilton is truly on a triple crown pace, as all of his numbers lead the league. National League On the Atlanta Braves, game-winning, home run heroics are usually the province of Mark Teixeira, Jeff Francoeur or Chipper Jones, but 2nd-year shortstop Yunel Escobar took matters into his own hands, rapping a 10th inning, 2-run blast to give the Braves a 7-5, extra-inning win over division rival Florida. Escobar, a native of Havana, Cuba, singled twice earlier in the game, scored a run in the 3rd and drove in another in the 8th, going 3-for-5 with 2 runs and 3 RBI overall, raising his batting average to .301 in the process. Notes: The Braves' win increased Philly's cushion over the Marlins to 1 1/2 games, as the Phillies beat the Reds, 5-4. Atlanta is 3 1/2 back... It's June, and Chipper Jones is still batting over .400. He went 2-for-4 on Monday to lift his average to .407... the Cubs have gotten red-hot, winning 8 straight and increasing their lead over St. Louis to 3 1/2 games. That's the same margin by which the D-Backs lead the Dodgers in the West.